Elle Overton (Samantha Hanratty), a college student, has just finished reading a novel about a character named Katie Kampenfelt. Unfortunately, the ending of the book has thrown Elle for a loop, and she becomes obsessed with the existence of this character, even though she knows Katie doesn’t really exist. However, Elle struggles with depression, so her mind and the internet get the best of her, messing with perceptions of reality and fantasy in intense fashion. Writer-director Allison Burnett’s sequel to Ask Me Anything, Another Girl, touchingly tells the story of a young lady, a story that should resonate with the world.
The dramatic thriller comprises a series of individual scenarios occurring over Elle’s life, which run parallel to the present-day Elle. They are all seemingly unrelated, other than the fact they feature Elle, but each is very much a part of the fabric of the character viewers see in front of them. On the surface, the film may seem fractured as just pieces of Elle’s existence come into play, but they are all pieces of a whole. Films of this nature can sometimes be challenging to follow as they bounce around the timeline and confuse viewers about what takes place. Rather than having one long story where someone may identify with bits and pieces of it, Burnett’s approach provides just enough to latch onto and appreciate.
“…the ending of the book has thrown Elle for a loop, and she becomes obsessed with the existence of this character…”
Presenting the story in this fashion allows audiences from all walks of life to appreciate Elle’s story and look inward. In addition, the filmmaker knows how to reach his audience and keep them engaged. It may be silly, but as I watched Another Girl, I couldn’t help to picture the Leonardo DiCaprio meme as he points excitedly at the television. I imagine that many who watch this film will have revelations of that nature and know that the story will resonate, regardless of where you come from or what you’ve done.
There is something uniquely and uncomfortably erotic about the film. Even in moments of hardship, it’s apparent that something sexual exists, if not right in your face, then in the background. While this tactic is undoubtedly used to arouse, I found these moments incredibly uncomfortable. Because the story’s framed around Elle’s depression, it feels wrong to sexualize her at any point. Sure, people in the real world don’t always appreciate the difficulties folks suffering face, this fictional story doesn’t necessarily need the sexual aspect. Furthermore, there is a prominent romantic subplot. It steals from the enticing nature of the rest of the film and causes numerous moments to fall flat.
Drugs, depression, abuse, sex, and the dark abyss we call life play a role in Another Girl, and it’s these sentiments that breathe life into Burnett’s film. There is so much beauty present, but a lot of the positives are overshadowed by an unnecessary romance, which is terribly frustrating. The acting is effective, the cinematography great, and the lighting well done, but the story is the foundation on which the rest of these elements stand. But in the end, I am encouraged to research Burnett’s other projects, and that says a lot.
"…I am encouraged to research Burnett's other projects, and that says a lot."